The cards and flowers you got last Mother’s Day were nice. But did you get what you needed most… the rest and relaxation your body requires and you deserve? Probably not, because we Moms are overworked, overwhelmed, under appreciated and STRESSED. We need more than Sunday brunch and Hallmark to recover from the day-to-day grind, long hours and sleep deprivation that motherhood entails.
This Mother’s Day give yourself the gift that only you can give… and receive… Self-compassion. As a transformational life coach, self-compassion is a skill that I share with all of my clients to help them increase self-love and unleash the power within.
Self-compassion is a self-applied antidote for the pressures of modern motherhood. Self-compassion entails treating yourself the way you would a good friend. Just think about the last time you helped a close friend who was suffering. How did you treat her? Now think about the last time you were stressed or hurting. How did you treat yourself? If you’re like most moms you probably were much kinder to your friend than yourself.
According to Dr. Kristin Neff, Associate Professor in Human Development at the University of Texas at Austin and a pioneer in the field, there are three elements of self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.
Self-kindness means you treat yourself in a caring and understanding way rather than being self-critical and judgmental. You stop the constant disparaging internal commentary (typically seen as normal), accept your failures and faults (instead of condemning them) and actively comfort yourself when you’re hurting.
Common humanity requires us to recognize that suffering is part of the human condition. When you realize that all people (moms included) are imperfect, fail, make mistakes, suffer and experience challenges you feel less isolated and alone. We all do it, right? So give yourself a break.
Mindfulness means paying attention to what is happening to you in the present moment in a balanced way without judgment or allowing yourself to be carried away by the drama of your situation. (Most “drama” of this type is self-created and counter-productive.) Instead of plowing forward when you’re hurting or distressed you notice when you’re suffering and give yourself a little TLC.
How Do You Develop Self-Compassion? 10 Easy Ways to Practice
Our commitment to family runs so deep that we often feel guilty when we take a moment for ourselves. Ironically, putting yourself first will make you a better mom, because caring for yourself gives you the energy to care for and give to others.
So forget self-esteem, try self-compassion. Take some time out this Mother’s Day to be kind to yourself. You’ll feel energized, joyful and empowered and a self-compassion practice will help you to learn how to deal with midlife crisis and other women’s midlife issues.
Here are ten easy self-compassion tips to get you started:
1. Set an intention to be kind to yourself.
2. Give yourself a hug. Go ahead just do it, right now. Notice how good you can make you feel.
3. Speak to yourself the way you would talk to a good friend, with kindness rather than judgment or harsh criticism.
4. Notice and acknowledge when you feel overwhelmed, stressed or challenged.
5. STOP when you’re STRESSED. Instead of tackling the next task take a few deep breaths and relax your body and mind. Notice how much better you feel.
6. Write down how you’d like to care for yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When you’re under stress or suffering do one of the things on your list to feel better.
7. Memorize a self-compassion mantra. For example, “May I be happy, may I be free of suffering, may I be kind to myself, may I accept myself as I am.” Repeat it when you’re feeling low or find yourself engaging in negative self-talk.
8. Let all the expectations you have for yourself, your home and your family go and just be you. Remember, no one is perfect.
9. Forgive yourself. When you make a mistake, we all do, learn from the experience and move on.
Not only will self-compassion help to soothe your frazzled nerves and boost your spirits, it’s calorie free and lasts a lifetime, unlike that box of chocolates.
Happy Mother’s Day. This time make it a great one, with a little self-compassion… for you, from you.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If you want to do your best for future generations of humanity, for your friends and family, you must begin by taking good care of yourself. -Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche[/pullquote]